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Old July 4, 2013, 08:14 PM   #6
James K
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Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,169
The revolver should have the full barrel stamp, ".38 S&W Ctg." or ".38 S&W Special Ctg." If it has only ".38 Caliber" it is some kind of replacement.

Contrary to what is sometimes written, serial number 1000000 was never reached. The reason for the "V" in the first place was that S&W's numbering machine only went to six digits, so as 999999 approached the decision was made to add an initial letter which would be stamped on all frames when they were made. The letter chosen was "V" (for Victory). The actual serial number was added later in production.

As noted, the "S" indicates the new (and still current) hammer block safety. The highest Victory model serial number was VS811119; after the war, production continued without the "V", at number S811120.

I have recently seen information to the effect that a number like V768xxx indicates a revolver with the old style hammer block, never upgraded. SV769xxx indicates a revolver whose frame had already been made before the change and the "S" was added when the new safety was installed. V750xxxS indicates a revolver that had been recalled to have the new safety fitted. And VS810xxx was a revolver manufactured new with the new hammer block. That seems to make sense, but I would appreciate any data to either confirm or contradict it.

Jim
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